Toxic Relationships: Recovering From a Narcissist

Updated on October 11, 2017
Narcissists look cute on the outside, but they're all predator on the inside.
Narcissists look cute on the outside, but they're all predator on the inside. | Source

There is Nothing More Toxic Than a Narcissist

My relationship with a narcissist changed me for the better. I’ve come a long way in the two years since that relationship ended. My wish is to offer hope to others who are in a relationship, or trying to end a relationship with a narcissist. It is undoubtedly one of the hardest toxic bonds to break. However, it can be done, and I’m living proof.

There is nothing quite so humiliating and hurtful as an intimate relationship with a narcissist. I dug around online in the aftermath of my breakup. I wanted to see if other people had recovered from the psychological fallout of this type of toxic relationship. I was surprised to find very little about actual recovery.

What I did discover online was a wealth of forums and articles about how to get away from the narcissist. There were plenty of tearful stories about the wreckage and psychological ruin. Unfortunately, there was very little about how people actually recovered successfully.

So I came up with my own plan to recover and move on from being psychologically mangled. The person I was with was incapable of treating me with dignity and respect – a typical narcissist trait.

I determined to rebuild my self-esteem from the inside out, so that I would never again be susceptible to an abusive relationship. I also wanted to reach a place where I was narcissist proof. I needed to appreciate my real value so that I could turn away toxic people and not look back.

Narcissists Have No Remorse

Waiting for a narcissist to change in to a decent human being is like waiting to spot a unicorn. It won’t happen - and your time and energy could be better spent on other things.

I spent two years hoping she would change. Two long years enduring someone who couldn’t really appreciate me, and who emotionally abused me on a regular basis. My self-esteem was in tatters.

At the time, I was unable to disconnect from this soul-crushing relationship. I just couldn’t find any detachment, even while things were getting worse. I knew I wanted out, but I couldn’t reach the exit.

The End of a Toxic Relationship is Like an Atomic Blast

The night of her holiday party was my wake-up call. Her behavior was so horrifying that I vowed to sever my connection to a person who didn’t seem human. I think everyone has a defining moment when they’re involved with a narcissist. In truth, there are usually many defining moments, but we tune them out. There’s usually a horrific event that alerts us, once and for all, that we need to go and never look back.

We were in the process of a breakup. The problem with a narcissist is that making a clean break is almost impossible. There a are a lucky few that are strong enough to do it - but mostly, by the time a break up is on the horizon, the partner of a narcissist is has been so beaten down psychologically they are unable to move.

Around the time we were attempting to break up, my ex narcissist decided to have a holiday party and invite a circle of acquaintances we both knew. She had invited me to spend New Year’s Eve with her, and I thought she extended an invitation to the Christmas Party. It never even occurred to me that I wouldn’t be welcome.

Even though I was tired from a long school year, I decided to surprise my ex -narcissist by putting in a surprise appearance at the party. It was a two-hour trip by train in sub-zero cold, but I was ready for a fun night and was willing to brave public transportation and the elements. I bought a nice bottle of liquor and a box of cookies and embarked on the trek.

I arrived with my gifts and a big smile on my face, ready for a good time. When I arrived, my ex took one look at me, and I knew immediately that something was wrong. My stomach knotted up. She looked at me like I was a homeless drunk who had just crashed her party. She clearly didn’t know what to do and was appalled that I was there. She ran into the other room to hide behind her guests.

I spent the next half hour milling around trying to figure out what to do with myself. The other guests could tell that my ex didn’t want me there, and they didn’t know what to do either – they were friends with both of us. I could not remember when I felt more uncomfortable, or awkward. I had been part of her life and welcome in her home for two years. Suddenly, I was an unwelcome intruder.

She actually stood in her living room with her back to me the entire time I was there. My time at the party didn’t last long – I lasted one half hour to be exact. It finally occurred to me that another partygoer was a person of interest to my ex. Before our relationship was even over, she had already picked out my replacement.

It's all about the narcissist.
It's all about the narcissist. | Source

Narcissists Don’t Understand Love

This is a common, and disturbing, phenomenon amongst narcissists: They are unable to form healthy attachments with other human beings. So even though they may say they are in love, they always have their eye out for the next best thing. And there is always a next best thing.

The narcissist is incapable of settling down with one partner. Even if they are in what appears to be a committed marriage - rest assured they are dabbling on the side. They are consummate entertainers looking for devoted groupies. They are always on stage performing their one man, or one woman, show – because it really is all about them.

If there is the opportunity to get more attention and adoration from a potential love interest, the narcissist will take it. Anyone who thinks that their narcissist is capable of being faithful is fooling himself, or herself. They are always on the lookout for something better no matter what they say to the contrary.

When I realized I was not welcome at the party, I remember grabbing my coat, calling a cab to the train station and standing outside in the freezing cold. My emotions kept cycling through numb, horrified and heartbroken.

I felt like I was in a bad soap opera – standing in the freezing cold, sobbing over someone who had never been worth my time or energy from the very beginning. In that moment, I felt like the biggest fool on the planet. I vowed, in that moment, that this was really the last time. I would never attract, or be attracted to, someone this disturbed again.

She came running outside before my cab pulled up. She kept hugging me and she told me everything would be ok, that I shouldn’t have shown up to her party. She wasn’t expecting me, and she had wanted to spend the evening mingling as a single woman – never mind that our relationship wasn’t actually over. She was already in the market for her next conquest. She assured me that since we were spending New Year’s Eve together she would make it up to me then.

I stared at her in disbelief through my tears. I couldn’t believe this woman actually thought I would ever go near her, or her home, again. I knew that was the last time I would ever set foot in her house.

She gave one last big hug, handed me a tissue to dry my tears and put me in the cab. It never occurred to her that her behavior was abnormal. In her world, my part in her little play had ended. I was merely an extra who was no longer needed on the scene.

She called and emailed for three days. I refused to respond. She finally realized I was not returning for New Year’s Eve and gave up. What disturbed me the most was the fact that she actually thought I would return to spend time with her after my private, and public, humiliation.

We continued to stay sporadically in touch after the nightmarish party scene. She kept trying to explain behavior that was unexplainable. I still harbored a slim hope that she would somehow miraculously change into a caring, compassionate person. On my end I believe that’s referred to as magical thinking.

I spend a lot of time during our relationship hoping that would happen. However, waiting for someone to change is a sure sign of danger. They won’t, and I wasted a lot of time waiting, wishing and hoping.

As time went on, I noticed that she was repeating the same sad excuses over and over in her emails. I finally realized that she was never truly sorry to begin with and that she would never be sorry. I finally had to accept the truth.

The refusal to let go of the emotional connection was part of my own emotional fixation. I had the choice to walk away. I continued to hang on despite all evidence that I was better off shutting her out and moving on.

I wish I could say it ended there, but with a pathological narcissist it never ends right away – they like to leave a trail, and an opening, in case they need you in the future. Our communication continued off and on for a year, before I discovered that she was actually in a couple of relationships with other people while she was still communicating with me. So I would get emails about getting back together some day, while she was sleeping with other people. The reality of her manipulation finally set me free. I ended communication with her completely.

Even though I’d like to believe that my self-esteem was in fairly good shape, my relationship with the narcissist taught me that there were holes in my self-esteem that I was unaware of. Patching up the holes became my primary concern over the following year. At long last, taking care of me became my priority.

There were places in my psyche that needed healing, and the toxic relationship brought my most painful issues right up to the surface where they could get some air. I was able see what I was doing to myself by allowing such toxicity into my life. Anyone who’s with a narcissist is suffering from similar issues.

Sometimes, Contact Helps You See What You Need to See

The constant email and Facebook reminders that she really believed her aberrant behavior was out of character, and that she really believed herself to be a kind, caring soul became tiresome after awhile. I was listening to the same prepared speech over and over.

While no contact is ultimately the way to go…for some of us staying in contact almost builds our emotional immunity. The more you hear, the less you want to hear as time goes on. In my case, by the time I cut off contact it was just a relief. There was no longer sadness about the loss.

You’ve heard the same thing with your narcissist. Whether parent, friend or romantic interest, you’ve heard the speeches that rarely change except for a rearranged word or two. The speeches are designed around the same themes and each narcissist has their own special theme based around their unique brand of delusion and insanity:

*No one appreciates them or how wonderful they are.

*No one appreciates how much he or she suffers at the hands of others.

*Everyone else has a problem - they are perfect.

*They are just trying to do some good in a world where everyone is out to get them.

*Because they are special, other people must understand when they get upset and shut down or lash out.

*They don’t remember that they got upset then shut down and lashed out, and you must be crazy for accusing them of such behavior.

If you’ve experienced any of these scenarios with a narcissist, then you understand the how empty and desolate it feels when you finally realize who, and what, you’re dealing with. You have to come to terms that you’re dealing with a monster, but with that realization comes true freedom – because you can never go back, only forward.

You’ve Been Trained to Throw Yourself in Front of the Bus

You may have been raised in a home with an alcoholic, an addict or a narcissist. In those homes the parent and their issues come first. The spouse of the damaged parent spends a lot of time worrying and trying to change their spouse. With everyone putting the narcissistic parent first, there is little energy left over for the children.

There is little positive emotional energy in homes like these. What is being modeled in these families are unhealthy, unsafe relationships. The children suffer the most, because the scars from childhood repeat for them in adulthood through an attraction to abusive relationships.

It is impossible for an adult child of an addict, or narcissist, to enter adulthood without serious emotional problems, including codependence. The pathological narcissist thrives on a steady diet of adults who have trouble believing they deserve to be treated well.

The right book can set you free

I woke up to my own emotional problems when I read the wonderful book Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents. The book made everything clear in an instant. Through real life stories and the gentle narration of the author - I finally understood my magnetic attraction to self-absorbed, Narcissistic people.

I feel right at home with them for a reason, and I don't want to give away the insights of the book here. It's better to just read and absorb Ms. Gibson's wisdom and clinical expertise. I can tell you it helped me identify my own childhood wound, and awareness leads to mindfulness which leads to healthier choices.

The book has tremendous value for anyone who's grown-up with troubled, self absorbed parents and the impact it has had on the lack of quality in their friendships and romantic relationships.

The relationship with a malignant narcissist forced me to face the real issue: Did I really believe I deserved to be in a healthy, loving, reciprocal relationship, or did I, deep down, believe I was doomed to unsatisfying relationships that were destructive, toxic and unsatisfying?

A Toxic Person Will Remain Toxic

If your survival as a child required you focus on every nuance of a parent’s mood – then you probably have a tendency to be over vigilant in your relationships. Growing up with a narcissist is literally growing up in an emotional minefield.

In other words, your primary love relationship takes up an extraordinary amount of your mental and emotional energy. Your brain is hard-wired to be so tuned in to someone else that you can’t take care of your own emotional needs and safety. It’s one of the primary symptoms of co-dependence.

You expend so much mental energy on the narcissist that your other relationships, interests and goals go on the back burner. When everything else takes a back seat, your life becomes unbalanced, and that’s when true misery settles over your soul.

This is what was happening to me during my time in my toxic relationship. The narcissist in my life was draining me to a point that it took all my strength to function at my job and other areas of my life - never mind a social life. My ex made sure that I was so busy attending to all of her emotional needs that there wasn’t much room to maintain healthy friendships with other people. I didn’t know how to disconnect from her drama. I wasn’t able to set good boundaries.

This a common problem for people who grow up to be codependent – an inability to set healthy boundaries with other people. I had spent most of my life not knowing where I end and someone else begins. It started to dawn on me that I was not responsible for anyone else’s feelings or problems.

The Beginning of the End: How do You Really Feel?

It was not my job to repair another human being. My new mantra became “I didn’t break it. I can’t fix it.” By continuing to accept responsibility for things that were beyond my control – I was actually the co-creator in my miserable relationships.

Learning how to feel my feelings became imperative, because I realized my ex-narcissist was slowly destroying me emotionally. I started tuning in to how I really felt when I heard from her. The knot in my stomach was a sure sign that I was uncomfortable, but I was mixing up discomfort with love.

Separate love from fear

I realized that feeling nauseous when dealing with her was a sure sign I shouldn’t be dealing with her at all. Once I got the feelings and thoughts straight in my head – I realized that what I had felt towards this person wasn’t love, it was more like pity and fear, but it wasn’t love.

Anyone who’s spent a lot of time with a narcissist knows, deep down, that the person causes them pain – especially if it’s a love relationship. If you’re still in a relationship with your narcissist, you may be thinking there is some hope. Maybe you’ve given up years of your life trying to keep your sinking ship afloat.

Until you release your need to make it work with someone who is pathologically focused on themselves, you will stay stuck. The breakup forced me to decide: Save myself, or stay in something that would eventually destroy me. I chose me.

The minute you become willing to acknowledge that you’re in a toxic relationship, and you don’t feel good about it, is the first stepping-stone to regaining emotional freedom and peace. Feeling my own feelings and taking responsibility for them was painful but necessary. I was truly serious about forming healthier attachments and attracting a relationship that was actually good for me.

If only the inside showed on the outside, we'd never go near them.
If only the inside showed on the outside, we'd never go near them. | Source

The Healing Begins: Seeing The Narcissist For Who They Really Are

Sometimes it’s easier to idealize people and look the other way when their behavior is less than stellar. Everyone deserves a second chance. In a healthy relationship we sometimes accept certain qualities in our partner that we may not love – but aren’t serious enough to end a relationship.

I had to open my eyes to what I was really dealing with, before I could make peace with the fact that there was no future with her. The selfish, self-absorbed, entitled behavior made a reciprocal, healthy relationship impossible.

She would feign flashes of insight about her behavior. She would cry and apologize – then she would quickly turn it around and blame me for her bad behavior. Then she’d wait a few days and do it all again, an exhausting cycle with no respite. This is what narcissists do; they are incapable of true empathy or insight.

Where Can You Turn When You’re Climbing Out of Hell?

My Buddhist practice has saved me on many occasions. The type of Buddhism I practice requires chanting – an excellent form of active mediation. While I was still suffering the after effects of my toxic relationship, and harboring fantasies that she would show up at my door and apologize, I turned to my spiritual practice. I reached out to other Buddhist friends, went to meetings and participated to the best of my ability.

Whether you’re Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, or Buddhist - your religion is there to help. Prayer works if you’re willing to admit you need healing. You just have to ask. Even if you haven’t participated in your religion for a long time, you will find a welcoming community that’s willing to support you. It certainly helped me in during my darkest hours.

Accepting Responsibility For The Choices You Make

There’s a famous spiritual quote that circulates on Facebook. It says: “Let go or be dragged.” It sums up the connection to a narcissist or any other personality-disordered individual. You have to be the one to disconnect because they won’t. They will mingle on the outskirts of your life for as long as you’re willing to communicate or leave the door cracked open. The door has to be completely shut.

It’s easy to blame the narcissist, but the truth is we’re choosing to engage. We are making a conscious choice to take on an impossible relationship with an impossible person. As adults we always have the choice to let go.

Once I had assumed responsibility for throwing myself under that particular bus, my angst began to lessen. I reminded myself regularly that what I participated in was always my choice, and that each new moment of each new day presented a fresh opportunity to make better choices.

Taking Responsibility: A Toxic Relationship Takes Two

People who are not codependent do not get involved with narcissists. The reason for this is that a person who’s used to a healthy dynamic would be unable to tolerate the constant abuse.

Codependence is a reliance on relationships that hurt. It is an inability to trust our own feelings and get out of our own way. When you’re codependent, you hang on to bad relationships for dear life – not acknowledging that you’re causing your own pain.

Reading some books on the subject helped me deal with my codependent nature and the pain it was causing me. I was picking the very people who would hurt me the most, and I was unable to set healthy boundaries with the narcissists in my family.

Melody Beattie’s book “Codependent No More” is a classic for a reason. Keeping this book handy and referring back to it when I felt myself slipping into wanting and needing my ex was a tremendous help during the healing process.

I also read several books on Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Between reading and attending Codependent’s Anonymous meetings for a while, I slowly began to heal. Once we understand ourselves, and our codependence better, the less we are willing to tolerate toxic behavior.

Redirecting Your Energy and Focus

When a relationship with a narcissist ends it creates a vacuum. So much of the relationship revolved around you and the narcissist obsessing over the narcissists needs, that you forget how to focus on other things, including your own needs.

Focusing on other things helped me work through the healing process. Renewing some of my personal commitments to myself, such as doing my writing and daily hiking, helped me feel that I was accomplishing something. This helped boost my self-esteem back to normal levels.

Rediscovering what you’re good at and devoting some time and energy to doing what you love will help you through the breakup with the narcissist. It will also make room for people in your life who share your interests and passion. I naturally started to attract quality people.

I made a lot of new friends during the healing process. Reaching out to make new friends and reconnecting with old friends was a welcome diversion during my narcissist recovery program. Before I knew it, I no longer had any desire or secret fantasies about rekindling a relationship with the narcissist. I was too busy and having too much fun.

You Can Change What You’re Attracting and What You’re Attracted to

Getting out and pursuing my own interests, rediscovering my spiritual practice and making new friends helped me get a better handle on what healthy connections looked like. As soon as I started “doing me,” everything else fell into place. I was able to be more discriminating about the type of people that I wanted around me. I did run across another narcissist in my new circle of friends. It took about a month to realize I was dealing with another toxic person, and I ended the friendship immediately.

The universe or God, or whatever you believe in, will provide you with exactly what you think you deserve. Changing a mindset takes some time, but it’s not as hard as you might think. It is well worth it to spend time alone getting in touch with what you want and need.

It has now been two years since the relationship with the narcissist ended, and I can honestly say I’ve never felt stronger, happier or more at ease with myself. I am dating and socializing and keeping an eye out for the healthy person who’s worthy of my time and energy. Next time, I’m no longer accepting crumbs.

© 2014 Macteacher


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    • Liza316 profile image

      Sharon Beverly 3 weeks ago from Tampa, FL USA

      Thank you, so much, for sharing this. The Narcissist I was involved with was an internet relationship. It lasted 6 months. We were making plans for the future. I thank God he is so far away from me. I broke it off. Before I could finish blocking him from all my social media and phone, after I messaged him to tell him we were done, he had already texted me. I blocked his number as quickly as I could. It was my friends, who have known me forever, who truly love me, that finally, gently intervened, because they saw me losing my glow, my sunshine, my positive attitude. I was withdrawing from them, from life, and really starting to believe it was all my fault. I was believing that I really wasn't the happy person everyone else knew I am, including me! Hindsight has indeed been 20/20 for me. I now know why he would hang up on me, when he was displeased, and I had no clue? Because he was raging. He couldn't afford to have me hear the true him. He slipped up a few times, and used that word, and told me just that. He couldn't speak to me when he was raging, even if it wasn't because of me. The most chilling thing he said, right before I broke it off, and this helped me see the truth too, was how much fun it was to watch a person go down in flames, when he set out to destroy them, because they deserved it. Why? They didn't live up to his standards, or to his perception of God's standards. I still have love in my heart for this man, because I also see just how broken he truly is. Not my job to fix him, but it still breaks my heart, because I really loved him. The beginning was beautiful, charming, and loving, but the closer we grew, the more controlling and manipulative he became. I was blinded by love. Again, thank you for this. Really helped me.

    • profile image

      Gaetana 4 weeks ago

      Thank you.

    • macteacher profile image

      Wendy Golden 7 weeks ago from New York

      Dear Noha,

      I am sorry for what you went through with this woman. There is definitely a hook for those of us susceptible to self-absorbed partners. It's a pattern that's formed in childhood. It's a deep-seated need to fix our pattern with our parents. Toxic parents end up raising codependent children.

      I hope you find happiness in your new relationship. If you still find you are struggling then perhaps therapy or a support group like CoDA will help. Good luck!

    • profile image

      Noha 8 weeks ago

      After 2 year relationship with a girl suffering of bulimia and NPd I decided to move on. In the beginning she seemed a stable healthy person. Very smart and active, slowly she reveled all her problems and an abusive mother and absent father in her childhood. We dated living far away, me in Rome and she in Tokyo. Early on she wanted to move I with me relocating to Rome. I already knew she suffered from a lot of stress and anxiety but had no idea about the scale of the problems until she moved in. So I discovered that she was way more depressed than she shown. The plan was that she would have started looking for a mini job and start seeing a therapist, eventually she just stayed in bed for months . With me suffering and pushing her to start a treatment . This only made us fight over and over. I suffered so much I became verbally abusive and exausted. She even had bulimic binges ( she told me no thsst later) while telling me that it was over. After few months she finally started seeing someone but after just few meetings the summer arrived and after going to Bruxelles to see her mom she never wanted to come back home. She blamed me in an unreal way, it seems I was the cause for her stress. I was the entire problem for all. I felt abandoned and I entered a huge phase of deep anxiety for the whole summer. A true nightmare. I tried to end the relationship but she didn’t wanted, becoming severely angry with me and manipulating me. I had to force her to come back to see me jus to understand that living toghter was not possible. So she moved to her mother in Bruxelles and few months later she wanted to go back to Tokyo to finish her study .( she even blamed me for convincing her to pause her Study to try to get cured).

      She moved there and asked me to go visit but just few days before my departure she said she dumped me telling me she wanted to eventually date someone else.

      I was destroyed and I felt depressed like nev before. I avtually started to move on with my life just to get back with her 6 months later. We spent a month toghter and everything seemed perfect. But again, when I visited her in Japan it was like always. It was all about her and her problems, I was just assisting her. And in her mind I should have enjoyed this. I started realizing that this was toxic and it was all about giving her something that would have never been enough. When I moved back to Europe and few months later she came for her vacation we had a fight while texting and this led to her not wanting to see me. She wanted to be with her friends telling me that she didn t know why but she felt bad everytime she was with me. Again, she didn’t wanted to split up. She just wanted to ignore me and get back to me when she pleased.

      But by this time I saw the pattern. Like food she wanted to have me completely and puke me when she had enough.

      Everything or nothing.

      This experience made me realize how much I enjoyed taking care of someone instead of myself. Now that has been a bit more than a month I see how much energies I have for me.

      I started dating a girl now, sweet and kind , and I see how hard it is for me to trust someone that really likes me. I see how somehow I prefer to give all my attentions to someone that doesn’t want me instead of risking being rejected by someone that is really there for me.

      We can blame the narcisistic ex for what he did. Or we can ask ourself why we loved being beaten up all the time.

    • macteacher profile image

      Wendy Golden 2 months ago from New York

      Hi Mara,

      I'm not a therapist. Everything you wrote here should be shown to a good therapist who can help you sort out all of these issues.

      I can tell you that one of the things my ex used to bug me about constantly was my weight. It was her contention that if I loved her I would lose weight.

      It got so bad I was afraid to eat in front of her. I was a nervous wreck, when I hadn't been before. It was never an issue in my other relationships.

      I know now to walk away from anyone who tries to control how I look or feel about myself. I also know that I come from a family full of angry, controlling women. Because of this energy in my background I would get caught up and consumed with relationships with angry, controlling women. That is my theme and I know what to look for, and what to avoid.

      This man played on your insecurities and pushed all your buttons. It wasn't about other women, it was about making you feel bad. Narcissists get high from the attention they get when they hurt someone. It's creepy but true.

      The only question you ever need to ask yourself in a relationship is this:

      Do I like myself when I am around this person?

      If the answer is no, then don't look back. Look forward to a future with men who treat you with the dignity and respect you deserve.

      Good luck!

    • profile image

      Mara 2 months ago

      Hi Wendy, I read your article and found it so insightful and helpful. I'm still working on healing from my separation and divorce from my ex, who I was with for 9 years. I had been with him for my entire adult life (from 18 to 27), and even though it was my decision to separate and divorce, the loss and guilt I felt was excruciating. I don't even know how to classify his behavior over the years, but finally I had enough and couldn't stand it anymore. From the beginning, he was always looking at other women, talking about other women looking hot or fit, and when I would get upset, he would tell me that he thought I was mature enough to have these kind of normal adult conversations. He once, early on in our relationship, told me that all men look at other women and imagine having sex with them. That was so upsetting for me, but he just told me I was being immature. He was always "testing" me, because he believed I had jealousy issues, and so he would make comments about women specifically to "test" my "maturity". I know this, because he admitted to it. He said he wanted to "push" me to get over my jealousy issues - my jealousy "issues" only started because of him looking at other women, and making me feel like I couldn't trust him! I lost trust in him early on, but didn't want to admit it to myself, and I kept hoping he would change, that he would finally understand and care about my feelings, that he would treat me as I treat him - with love, respect, and complete faithfulness. But maybe when trust is gone, at a certain point it can never be repaired or regained. Those issues started early on in our 9 year relationship, within the first 1-2 years, and he remained the same throughout - we would have arguments about him being overly familiar, in my opinion, with other women, and he would call me jealous, paranoid, crazy, controlling, irrational, and untrusting. And I would vacillate back and forth - is he right? Am I being controlling and jealous and causing issues in our relationship? Or am I right and he needs to change. I would almost always end up agreeing with him that I need to work on being more understanding, less distrustful. But these issues kept coming up because I guess I knew that it wasn't right. In the last year of our relationship, he was driving a girl home from work late at night, and he didn't even tell me about it at first. We went out for dinner with this female colleague of his one night, along with two other friends, and then my ex volunteered me and him to drive his female colleague home. Well, to my shock, my ex knew the way to her house. Once she was out of the car, I asked him how he knew the way, and he told me that he'd driven her home from work a couple of times because she didn't have transport. I was so upset - I would be waiting at home for him, because he was working very late hours, and he'd be driving home another woman and not even telling me about it. Of course he told me I was being crazy, ridiculous, jealous, possessive, etc, and said there was nothing wrong with it, and he continued to drive her home on occasion even though I was upset about it. I had such tension about his friendship with this female colleague of his that I ended up having a panic attack at the gym and had to be given oxygen on the floor of the gym. And one of the people working out at the gym happened to be a doctor and so he came over to assist, and he went downstairs to the gym cafe to get some honey to give to me to raise my blood sugar. I was crying and still gasping a bit, and so he kindly and sincerely fed me the honey spoon by spoon, and that made me cry more because this random man was more caring for me in that moment than I felt my ex was being. I just heaved a big sigh, because I thought I was over all this - the panic attack happened in roughly May 2015, we separated in September 2015, and the divorce paperwork went through in May 2017. But maybe I am still struggling - I don't think about him as much anymore, I don't ruminate as much about the pain he caused me, but I struggled for a long time with anger and resentment about what he put me through and him continuing to believe that I was the one in the wrong, that I had the controlling and jealousy issues that caused us so many fights over the years. Another incident with that female colleague: at a work party, she leaned across him to say something to me, and she rested her hand at the very top of his thigh as she did so. I was so shocked and I confronted him when we left the party ... and he laughed at me. He laughed because he thought I was being, once again (in his words) crazy, jealous, irrational, and he claimed to have not even noticed her put her hand on his leg. He didn't believe me at first. I didn't believe him that he didn't feel it, and even if he didn't notice it, what does that mean other than that they clearly were comfortable with each other in a way that most work colleagues of the opposite gender are not. I felt angry at him for a long time, but then got back in touch with him recently to say hi, and I feel like I am not fully allowing myself to move forward - as he has so clearly done. Do you have any thoughts on what I have said with regards to my situation? How would you categorize what I went through with my ex? And how I do heal fully - because I don't feel truly healed, and not at all certain of my ability to "ward off" similarly "abusive" relationships. And was he abusive to me? In an emotional sense? He was always criticizing what I wore, how I looked, telling me to get this waxed, to wear this, to fix my hair or makeup this way, and whenever I put up resistance, he would tell me that I didn't care about looking good for him. He would tell me that all women care about these things and about looking good for their man. This was so upsetting to me because I did and do make an effort to look nice, and it hurt to feel like he rarely saw that, that he only ever had criticism for me, that I was never "good enough" so to speak. He would comment on other women passing by, and say "look at what she's wearing, you should wear something like that" - and I always felt compared to other women, and always coming up lacking. I don't know why I stayed in the relationship for so long, except to say that I loved him in an all-consuming way, and we did everything together. But I always felt that I came second to his mom, and perhaps tied in importance with his friends. So along with the criticism, and him looking at and talking about and acting inappropriately with other women, he was also putting me in the position of resenting his mother for ALWAYS taking priority - she was even calling him during our honeymoon to discuss a family matter, and yet I was the one in the wrong when I got upset about it. I was the one who was being possessive and not understanding. I just wanted our honeymoon to be about us, to for once not have his mom "around", even via phone. *sigh* How do I recover from all this pent up resentment that I still feel?

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      Wendy Golden 2 months ago from New York

      Dear Vanessa,

      I sorry for the trouble you are in. I don't know enough about your situation to offer any concrete advice. Do you have your own job? Do you make your money? If not, you should start.

      Every woman should have her own emergency fund, so that if she gets in a bad situation, she has the money to move. You can go to the bank on your own and set up a private account in your name only, and don't tell him about it.

      He can only imprison you if you allow it. I am also assuming he is not physically violent, if he is then please call your local domestic abuse hotline for resources.

      If you do have your own money, then wait until he goes to work, and move out and don't leave any contact info. You can always replace the stuff later - I know because I've been there. I'm assuming no kids are involved.

      I've recommended to many who have written here: Find a CoDA meeting (Codependents Anonymous) you can look online for one in your area. You will find a community of supportive people that are also trying to break free of toxic relationships. Good luck!

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      A nony mouse 2 months ago

      One last thing I should say about rogue therapist.

      No matter how embarrassing the situation, this guy needs reporting so that he will eventually be exposed. When this happens, all the women that he has behaved badly towards, will hopefully come forward and this will either force him out of practice or force him to operate ethically.

      Can say that he charged £360 for 3 hours work and he overcharged by at least £120, his trade association thought that he ought to refund the whole sum, as they thought the value of the 'therapy' I received was jack. Safe to say there was no such offer of even a partial refund. Only wish that I could name him, but this would start libel action on his part.

      Must add that when a complaint is made to a trade association that a therapist has joined voluntarily, the therapist can not then claim liable against the complainant. Some trade associations make complaints about therapists public, some do not, but it is always worth complaining, because it has the potential to change the therapist's unsafe behaviour and save others from unpleasant situations. At the very least, it let my therapist know that I would not tolerate his unethical breach of confidentiality or threats.

      Will try to put this information on other sites.

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      A nony mouse 3 months ago

      Should also add that there is a guy out there who advertises his therapeutic services for women victims, who himself is narcissistic. Unfortunately, I came across him. He is pretty much advertising for co-dependents. He happily takes money for work that he has no intention of performing. His modus operandi is that he takes an overly long personal history to ensure that you are a suitable client. If you are like me and you might pose a danger to him by standing up for yourself, he then takes your money and agrees to work with you. However, when you ring to book an appointment he will prevaricate time and time again. When he has had enough, he will then turn around and threaten you and say that you have been harassing him, he claimed to have shown my private notes to third parties and made a veiled threat to the tune of: 'You have made me feel uncomfortable and I am going to make you pay'

      I immediately turned to the Clinic for Boundary Studies, who said that I should report him to his trade association. Which I did. The head of the association was completely dismissive. Then I received a letter saying that I was being investigated for a social security claim, this was dated 2 days after this guy had threatened me, it seemed too much of a coincidence. I contacted the trade association again, this time a different guy dealt with me, I described what had happened without mentioning the therapist's name, to my surprise the guy on the other end of the 'phone was able to name this guy. He went on to say that despite practising over 100 miles away from the rogue therapist, he had, had 2 very traumatized women pass through his practice that had similar stories. He said that he had personally tried to tackle the rogue therapist, but that this had resulted in a slew of threatening solicitors letters.

      The trade association was made to realize that they needed to tackle this guy. They did their best to do this, but he refused to abide by their procedures and they revoked his membership. He started his own trade association, from which I understand he was forced to step down and he started his own training school, but I have been told that he had some serious disagreement with a number of his trainers, whom he simply sacked. Put it this way, the head of his trade association describes him as a dick who has pissed off too many people to continue operating to the same degree in his country, so he has gone international. Whoah, watch out world!

      Just thought it was an interesting approach to narcissistic supply, to actually advertise for potential victims. But on a serious note, I heard that a psychologist described this guy's behaviour as antitherapeutic, I would concur, I would also say that if any woman gets into a sticky situation, with a therapist that sounds like this, then for goodness sake report it.

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      A nony mouse 3 months ago

      My ex, narc or not, was charming at first, which I believe is the pattern with narcs; after all how else would they attract anyone in the first place. When these sort of characters turn, the behaviour is kind of difficult to believe, the victim probably thinks it is something that they have done wrong. When one of these characters are called out on their behaviour, sure they will appear to behave perfectly, for a while. But, since the victim has allowed their personal boundaries to be transgressed once it is never too long before it is happening again and again.

      The victim is invariably trying to get back the charming person they fell in love with. There is some biological basis to this. Years ago some research was done with animals, I think it was pressing a lever for a reward. They set it up 2 different ways. 1) pressing the lever gave the same reward every time 2) pressing the lever gave varying awards including nothing at all. The animals with varying awards pressed the lever a greater number of times than those getting a fixed award. There have been some comparisons drawn to people in jobs and the same appears to hold true there too. Certainly, I feel that this model would explain the destructive hold that gambling holds over some individuals. It could also explain why victims who are free to leave their abusers continue to stay. The variability of the reward, possibly makes the reward more desirable.

      Not so in my case. I just got the hell out. Eventually, I was able to move and the courts put a stop to contact. We now live in hiding.

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      Gail 3 months ago

      Thank you.

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      Wendy Golden 3 months ago from New York

      Dear A nony mouse,

      I"m sorry we don't agree about co-dependents. But I stick by my assertion that co-dependents are very much attached to approval from toxic partners. Which is why so many of us stay in long-term relationships with a Narc.

      What you are describing sounds more like a sociopath/psychopath. They are even more unpleasant and dangerous than your average Narcissist.

      I'm glad you got a divorce and got away from him. He sounds very dangerous.

      My article was really addressing relationships that are not physically violent.

      I hope you and your child are in a safe place where he can not find you. Good luck.

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      A nony mouse 3 months ago

      I resent the way in which the term co-dependent is used. I was with my narc ex for nine and a half years and everything was fine until I gave birth to our son, over eight and a half years in. Then all hell broke loose, because he resented the attention a small baby took away from him.

      We went to 3 different relationship counsellors: 1) told him he needed to get off his online games, roll up his sleeves and pitch in and be supportive (we did not go back to her because he said she bullied him; 2) was a guy who told him much the same (we did not return as my ex thought that the therapist fancied me); 3) started to get somewhere, she figured out that he was a narcissist and that he would not change, so she persuaded him that perhaps he should leave me and set up with his secret squeeze. This at least gave me the break from domestic abuse that I needed to start divorce proceedings.

      I object to the term co-dependent, because it somehow implies that I was a willing participant in my own abuse. I was not, I was more like a hostage, trying to placate a terrifying terrorist in my own home. He used to be on his computer until the early hours of the morning, I would be asleep and he would force himself upon me and if I dared object, he would choke and hit me. His excuse for this behaviour was that I had gained weight during my pregnancy and had stretch marks and he no longer found me attractive. He used to lock me in the house when he went to work. As my child was a baby and I was no longer working he thought that entitled him to behave as he wanted to. The therapist said that the only way he would leave would be on his terms, as this is the way of the narcissist.

      His parents, unfortunately, persuaded him to stay. He knelt before me and pleaded "I've been a selfish b*stard and nothing like this will ever happen again; but I need my space" So I agreed to give him his space, I told him that I was going to my parents over Christmas and he could go figure what he was going to do to put our relationship right whilst I was away. What he did not know was that I bugged the household computer, I came home to discover no positive attempts to resolve our problems, but lots of time emailing other women, going on and viewing violent porn. It was not going to change, I told him he needed to stop locking me in for safety reasons and secretly started divorce proceedings.

      I stopped trying to be the person he wanted and when he started all the threats to leave I told him he knew where the door was. He went for it and I asked where he was going so I could start divorce proceedings, he said he did not know. He left and returned a few weeks later on the pretext of collecting belongings, I asked again for his address so that I could start proceedings. He refused saying if I did not know his address I could not divorce him, I told him that I would have the papers served on him at his workplace, he tried to run me over.

      Shortly after this, I received a 'phone call from the other woman, she wanted me to take him back to stop him pestering her. So obviously, it had not worked with the other woman and that is why he did not want a divorce. I did divorce him, it was hell, the judge did not believe how bad he was and said that I had indulged in an exercise in hyperbole and allowed him unsupervised access to our son. He hid money in a trust fund which meant I had to sell up, his behaviour, together with the fact that our son was diagnosed with a developmental disorder (with which he was no help whatsoever), meant that I moved miles away to where my parents live. He was unhappy about this, we tried to offer him a pattern of contact that would be more convenient all round, but he refused to compromise in the interests of our son. It went back to court and they put a stop to contact.

      He has since messed me and our son around with maintenance payments, because he would rather pay for the new wife and his 4 stepchildren, than his disabled son and me who has given in my career to take on the whole responsibility.

      Has not worked out so well for him though. In December 2015, the police contacted my parents, worried about my safety. After establishing that I was OK, I was asked to contact another police force. They asked about why our relationship broke up, I told them about the abuse they said that he had perpetrated about 90% of what I described on his new family and that the new relationship had gone nuclear when 2 of the stepchildren joined his household. They had arrested him and charged him with domestic abuse and he had been bailed. During the course of the police investigations, more serious evidence came to light and bail was rescinded and he spent 3 weeks on remand. Unfortunately, the new wife rescinded her statement and the Crown Prosecution Service dropped the case.

      My point is that using the term co-dependant is demeaning to the victims of narcissists, because no one would consciously choose to be in this position; in actual fact many people are trying to escape such partners. The fact that narcs are particularly nasty and difficult to deal with is not the victim's fault and the demeaning language around this is perpetrating a dysfunctional narrative.

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      Vanessa Valdez 3 months ago

      I really appreciate your post. It really helped me. I am in a relationship going on 4 years it has been toxic from the start and is only getting worse. My partner is most definitely a narcissist on many levels. I am looking for advice on how to leave without being sucked back in again we live together and he controls everything i no longer have a support system and I don't really have any family members to help me he plays that card a lot i just know at this point I need to get out of this house I'm slowly losing my self again! All I know is that I am not able to be myself I have to be what he needs all the time and he constantly criticizes and disrespects me.

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      kks 4 months ago

      thank you,thank you, thank you!!!

      just escaped from a relationship very similar to yours.

      Thank you for your wisdom and insight and for pointing me in the right direction with your recommendations on what books to read.

      Congratulations of the positive direction your life is heading

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      Jo 4 months ago

      My narcissits partner is in the process of leaving. We were together for five years. Even from the beginning i knew this man had no empathy, everything was about him. Resolving problems in our relationship was never about having a loving conversation where we listened respectfully to each other to help each other sort things out It was about name calling pointing the finger and blaming me. His nastiness, he would say if i didnt do the things i did he wouldnt get angry and shout.

      I came from a family where you spoke when you were spoken to and my father was abusive to my mum. I had carried the trait of withdrawing into my adult hood which i told him and he said i was just ignorant. But my ex partner did not want to know the why's and my feelings didnt matter as they werent relevant. He is in the process of leaving and i should have finished the relationship a very long time ago because any feelings i had for this man he destroyed with how he treated me. I loved this article i have had tears but i am choosing me :)

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      Wendy Golden 4 months ago from New York

      Hello AnneMarie1962,

      I'm glad my personal experience could help. Narcissists rely on people who they perceive as easy marks for their supply/attention. The cool thing is...we get to decide not be easy marks any more. Namaste, and good luck on your journey.

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      Anne marie1962 4 months ago

      Sometimes you don't realise the weight of something you've been carrying, until you feel the weight of its release.

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      Anne marie1962 4 months ago

      Three months out of a seven year relationship with a narcissist... including a very, very brief marriage!!!!! During the past 3 months I have trawled the internet reading everything available and NONE and I mean NONE of what I have read, watched or listened to has she hit home the way your article did! even touching on where MY personality issues started and why I became such a sad, used, abused basket case. I am four weeks into counselling and can tell you that your article is the first thing that has given me the hope that I WILL get well and come out the other end of this nightmare! THANK YOU from the depth of my soul x Anne Marie namaste

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      Wendy Golden 5 months ago from New York

      Dear Heart B Healed and Dean,

      I know you both are in a difficult place, but you've done the right thing by leaving your Narcissist. Those relationships are exhausting, demeaning and never get better.

      Stick with no contact, and start pursuing your own interests and dreams. Make new friends and I guarantee a year from now you'll be well on your way to having your sanity and life back. Good luck to both of you!

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      5 months ago

      I am just realising I have been in a relationship with a toxic narcissist. I can relate to EVERYTHING I have read in this article and it has helped so much. THANK YOU.

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      Dean 5 months ago

      Im three months out of a 2 year relationship with a woman that you have just described in this atricle to an exact T and I just want to say thank you for sharing this.

      It is given me a glimpse of hope that I will someday be able to feel like a human being again as I have been numb inside now for so long in dealing with this kind of person.

      I left the relationship and ended up sleeping on a hard wooden floor for a month and then technically homeless because of her, but I managed to pull myself out of this and even now she has been trying to lure me back in.

      Thank you for giving me some hope that this nightmare will end eventually. Honestly, thank you.

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      Heart B Healed 5 months ago

      Thank you for the post and courage to take care of yourself instead of allowing your life to keep slipping away. It is important to accept the responsibility we have in this situation...good of you to address.

      Last month, i finally had the ah-ha moment - the one that was the catalyst to leave - for good. It was because of the Weinstein joke. The last 10 years have been a miserable battle. They were years of taking care of his needs, dealing with his selfishness, drunken rants, his moods, his schedules, his preferences and apologizing over and over for all the "hurtful things" i did to him.

      Read that again...I APOLOGIZED TO HIM! Every thing wrong that every happened was my fault. It is the same story as others who have been through this nightmare.

      I am scared to be alone now but it has to happen. My life and heart can't suffer anymore.

      I made the choice to stay and must face the difficult task of rebuilding.

      I wish everyone the best is moving past the utter devastation...the "relationship" that was a complete and total lie.

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      Wendy Golden 6 months ago from New York

      Dear Lost,

      Nobody can destroy you without your permission. Please see if you can't get into a therapy group where you can meet others struggling with the same issues. CoDA - Codpendent's Anonymous has groups all over the country. There is life after your Narc. Please don't give up or give in. Good luck!

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      Lost 6 months ago

      So inspiring to read how all of you moved on so happy for all of you.

      But no matter how hard I try I do not see the light in the tunnel.

      He destroyed me completely .

      I do not want to socialize or meet other people because I only attract narcs friends or narc partners .

      I left my job because I worked with my ex narc after he suggested that i have to work make money and help him and his new supply raise their comming kids.

      Not having a work or friends or family makes it so hard for me to see future but thinking maybe i should be their doormatt because I am just a wreck . No good for nothing or anyone . His goal to destroy me worked out .

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      Gina 6 months ago

      This was one of the best articles on NPD. I am just starting the recovery process after a 21 year marriage. There are no words to describe the insanity of these people or the level of narcissistic abuse through silence, lies, gaslighting, cheating etc... ughh it is just unbelievable what they can do to ravish your life. I have two children with this sick, sick man and thank God, although it took this long to get away, I have educated my children as he was diagnosed NPD, BPD in 2013. I always thought it was passive aggressive disorder but he is a Covert Somatic Narcissist. He is Malignant and the level of deception that had been going on in the last 21 years of my marriage is frightening. Too much for me to go into but there were full other lives with other people and so much more. Thankfully, I am at the end and should be divorced within a few weeks but he continues to try to control as much as he can. The best thing I did for myself was educate me and the girls. This was my saving grace reading articles such as this. People with this disorder are so toxic and should be removed from your life as quickly as possible. I took 17 years to figure out what this person was doing. Narcissism is NOT curable.. They will chew through your life and you will not know what is happening to you. Then discard you years before you even know you have been discarded. Anyone that is reading this amazing article please listen to the writer if you are still in a relationship with a Narcissist, please also see the Narcissistic Cycle of Abuse. Educate yourself as much as possible and get help to get away as quickly as possible. They are devoid of love, apathetic and cruel. You are just a source of supply to a narcissist. Narcissist objectify people so their victims are for their usage only. They Do NOT Love because they CANNOT love. They are deceptive, fraud, con-artists and could care less about you or your children. Con means "Confident" which is what they do. They gain your confidence through the idolization phase of their cycle of abuse and then start ever so slowly devaluing you. You don't even know it's happening. You just know that something is very wrong but can't figure it out. Listen to this writer and heed the warning. Educate yourself, seek therapy to get out as quickly as possible from this very Covert Abusive nightmare!

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      Marme 7 months ago

      Omg, your story about the holidays is so strikingly similar to my brief encounter or relationship with a Narc. He did the same thing, he invited me to a family bbq and I got all dolled up showed up and he took 1 look at me like I was street trash and ignored me the whole time. The night before he was calling me his gf? I wondered wtf did I do?! This all explains it. I was only with him for 2 months and it messed me right up. I get it now. Wow that story just hit so close to home. I actually kinda laughed because its so silly that we would think the issue is with US. Thank you.

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      Wendy Golden 8 months ago from New York

      Dear Jojo -

      Counseling is always best. See if there are any support groups for kids. Al-Anon might be able to give you a lead. Narcissism is very similar to addict behavior. So, believe it or not, 12 step programs are also effective for those dealing with Narcissists. Sending you and your son healing energy.

    • profile image 8 months ago

      I lived with a Narcissist for 25 years.Finally left 6 months ago. My son is the one dealing with his Dad. I keep telling him that his dad is not well.Alex is depressed and I want to help him.I need to forgive myself for staying so long in this toxic relationship. Any suggestions to help me with Alex? Thank you

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      Nat 8 months ago

      I have been living this nightmare for over 15 years. I am exhausted. I finally had the atomic blast. It only been two days. I need to be strong and never return. Thank you for your wonderful article. No one could understand why I kept going back. You explained so well.

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      Wendy Golden 8 months ago from New York

      Dear Andy, Amy, Melissa H and Claire R -

      I'm so happy my experience has helped you if only to let you know you're not alone. You're not.

      I'm sorry you've had to go through such bad experiences, but the bad experiences really do bring us closer to loving ourselves more, raising our standards - and have some much-needed peace and sanity. I'm sending healing energy to all of you. :-)

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      Andy 8 months ago

      Great article the manipulating way he used to twist things to make him look good finally over now just to close that chapter in my life and begin a new one thankyou for sharing

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      Amy 8 months ago

      Today is the day I ended it - yet again. This time, it needs to stick. This article was exactly, exactly what I needed to read. Thank you so much for your time and thoughtfulness in its creation and sharing!

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      Melissa H 8 months ago

      Thank you for articulating in print what is difficult to find words for.. I am at the end of a 3yr battle with my Narc, and I gotta say, it nearly did me in.

      The lies, the stealing, the manipulation, the shame, the abuse, the isolating behaviour, the pain, the sorry's, the drama.. The damage..My god.. The effort to deceive on every level.. It's exhausting even writing this!

      Wow! I didn't see myself as susceptible to a person like this. But that just makes them try harder to fell you. I read every word on this topic now to reinforce to myself that I'm not the only one who fell prey to one of these human parasites. It is heartening to know, that the light at the end of the tunnel is not always a freight train! I thank you!

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      Claire R 8 months ago

      I love this article. It has given me hope. I am only out of the relationship 4 days. He was physically and emotionally abusive. Here's praying that I can be as strong as you.

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      Wendy Golden 8 months ago from New York

      The woman he left you for probably made a more pliable target. They look for partners they can control. I can assure you their relationship is dramatic and toxic, but some partners have the ability to tune out the more extreme behavior of the Narcissistic/Sociopath.

      No, I've dated here and there, but no serious relationships. Not because I don't want to, but because my focus is getting an online business off the ground. Doing that around a full time job is hectic.

      The next relationship needs to be with someone who exhibits kindness and emotional stability. I'm not settling for less. I don't have time for the drama.

      I don't trust most people either. However, I've managed to spot red flags and eliminate people from my life before I get hooked.

      It's really about me developing the ability to trust myself and my judgement...still a work in progress, but I'm getting there.

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      Becwas 8 months ago

      Hi Wendy - great article! I had a similar experience with my ex stalking/flaunting their new target in front of me prior to the breakup... except I was in the backseat of the car! We all carpooled together - I know exactly what you mean when you say it felt like a soap opera moment!

      I have 2 questions - have you met/seriously dated anyone else since? I have found it difficult to trust other people.

      And secondly, just out of curiosity, was yours a sociopath as well? Mine never hoovered, & as far as I'm aware is still with the woman I was left for, so I'm guessing he was more socio than narc.

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      Anisa 9 months ago

      I read this article with complete shock. I felt like it was describing me and what I've been through. I never thought my ex was a narcissist. Not until today. The way you defined it made so much sense.

      Thank you for writing this beautiful healing article. It won't be the last time I read it.

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      Kirsty Stanbrook 9 months ago

      What an encouraging and inspiring read. Thank you so much. I am disentangling from a narcissistic relationship in which my role has been an excessive codependent. Life is really only just beginning as I do the healing work on myself. I am older and hopefully wiser in how I envision my life to be. Your testimony is wonderful and gives hope for many of us who are still in the early stages of recovering from narcissistic relationships. Thank you.

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      Stuart 9 months ago

      I can relate to an ex narc, was together for 2years. 2children from my ex 1of her own.

      She changed to be a webgirl comprising our relationship and a child of her own adding (she lived with ex) for us while my feelings and beliefs were just gaslighted, so I left. Fueling narcissistic behaviour more...

      2weeks she came back and it ate at me for months. repeated behaviour lack of contact 1on then off push pull, hot n cold no empathy.

      Then my 36th birthday on holidays was dumped on my bday, 8hrs of silence in the car on the the way home. Gaw it ripped at me. 18th May 2017 crawled back had suspicious ideas and gut feels she was cheating. I would ask then manupulated that I was. (Gaslighted)

      I guess my penny dropped when I finally realised that she wouldn't change, we got engaged in our 2nd anniversary I wanted it to change. when It didn't I thought love was what we wanted and knew deep down I would not ever be able to have a normal relationship. Love and normal people don't do this.

      I was surrounded by children at a park and she would go off over ex issues and blame me for the behaviour patterns of her own turmoil. Ie drugs, self blame projecting every people's to me why we can't move in together it was but an excuse.

      I extensively researched narcissistic behaviour and gaslighting to better understand why I felt the way I did for months.

      She said the very last thing Il never be happy your right I replied walked over, took the ring and walked away. as I got in my car 18th August 2017, 3months exactly of repeated behaviours, victimisation and emotionally abused, The universe was telling me something and 3weeks of no contact to date.

      I walked away, I get good and bad my days, I want to go back but cannot, thank you for the net and experiences go through. I will stand for my me and my kids, what cannot kill you makes you stronger-our willingness to forgive and forget.

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      Primpo 9 months ago from Brooklyn, New York

      I can relate totally!! It's been 20 years but they were the worst of my life and the mental anguish and scars took such a long time to get control of . I had nightmares for a long time. I gave birth to two children from that relationship and that in itself was another story but he left long before they turned 2 and never supported them. moved onto another woman who had 3 girls and stayed with her and raised her kids. I have suspicions of what happened with them but too much for me to think about . I am settled in my new life now and basically happy and content. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. It really affects everything you do in your life and I could of been a professional by now, instead the after effects from that relationship and the beatings took a toll on my body and mental ability to handle things. I am going to finish school to get my bachelors degree to help abused women. so I am going to study behaviors.

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      Susanna 9 months ago

      Thanks for this. Related on so many ways. I got out of the relationship thank God. Healing myself now

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      Wendy Golden 10 months ago from New York


      I feel your pain, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. I saw the ex-Narc at a party a few weeks ago. I had no reaction, and we chatted and it was fine. I saw her for the damaged person she is. Someone who is ok to chat with at parties but is completely hopeless as a close friend or romantic partner. They cannot help themselves, they are damaged, children.

      I've learned over the years - it's been about five years since I wrote this article - that inner peace comes from knowing who we are and we are willing to tolerate. It also comes from knowing we deserve a kind, decent human being for a partner, and don't have to settle for anything less. Good luck on your journey.

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      DonnaAnne 10 months ago

      I have not yet completed reading this article, mostly due to tears. This article is so spot on I feel like I could have written it myself. I experienced the Atomic Blast this past weekend. I felt like I was going through a check list and every box was marked. This has been an emotional week and I am preparing for the second atomic blast when all of our common friends will be hit with the "she is the toxic person" and she will give them notice to stop all contact otherwise they will be the next one off the team. This was one of the patterns I had seen before and tuned out. I am also a child of a narcissist parent and many scars from a childhood riddled with abuse from an emotionally disabled brother. I have forgotten who I was and until this week did not realize I had given up the things in life I loved. I am afraid tho that as I look deeper and begin to heal that the problems in my marriage are also due to my attraction to a person who I thought I could rescue and change. Today is a new day, I have some rough days ahead but I feel that I now have the information to help me get through those days and to start healing and moving forward.

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      Josh 11 months ago

      Just a message to say thank you Wendy so much. I have related to your story so deeply and I now have a name for me ex, a narcissist!

      I wish I got rid of her when I felt unhappy.

      In the first 2 months of our relationship, I felt unhappy becuase of her narcissist behaviour I was getting myself in to, but they're we're not big enough for me to end it. When I brought it up she cried and I felt bad and all of that bs they make you feel. However at the time I would have brushed this behaviour off at the time and put myself first, as I've never came over a narcissist before (I'm 21) and I was very attracted to her, so I brushed them off and accepted that I can deal with them. As time went on we had a great time, I fell in love. But a year later she ended it. I won't go into it, but it was a horrid breakup ammungst other awful things I was trapped in what was a relationship off and on for 6 months straight. She was keeping me from moving on as I was still trying to fight for her and us. finally I got some of the closure I needed where I did not agree with the behaviour and that was getting with other lads. Even when we were not together, but when she came crawling back after telling me she got with other lads. She did this twice in out 6 months off and on period and the second time was my wake up call. The penny dropped when she came back saying she still loved. This is where my wake up call was. (In my world, if you love someone you will not go out your way to hook up with other people and even more so come crawling back! No no).

      My true closure came when In sum I said I had enough of feeling like this now and that I realised nothing will change. I gave up on her. She continued to message me but I ignored it for 3 days, then still continuing, I contacted her parents and asked her to stop this behaviour. She did everything her parents told her, so this was a good trait which worked out in myfavour.

      Again Wendy, thank you for your post. In this 6 month period, I've been blind with what I was experiencing and it's amazing to be not the only one going through what you described in your post. Again thank you thank you.


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      Wendy Golden 11 months ago from New York

      Dear Molly,

      Sorry it took so long to get back to you. I don't know why your ex blocked you on FB. It is impossible to know if someone is truly a narcissist or just an asshole. I'm not a licensed therapist, and a lot of people are quick to diagnose when they shouldn't. Your ex may not be a narcissist, she may be a sociopath - and while there are similarities - sociopaths rarely look back. A sociopath would cut ties and not give you a second thought. Please seek out counseling as this sounds like a very destructive dynamic that you don't want to repeat.

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      nancy monohon 11 months ago

      been married 21 yrs in toxic marriage seperated for 1yr in half tied up in court should be over soon and still trying to figure my life out who i am this is really hard i do on line counceling making friends and trying to move on this is challenging every day for me

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      Sara 11 months ago

      Probably the most helpful article I have read on this...(and I have done a ton of research) Thank you.

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      kathy 12 months ago

      thank you, i just broke up with a narcissist, who immediately told her friends and family that she ended it with me. i can relate to the void that was felt, we spent 24 hours a day together for 8 months. even moved to arizona together, we are from canada its especially hard as its one of my first same sex relationships. and the last man i was with was exactly like her.a narcissist. im sure she has a list of people waiting in the wings for her.. if not already.. thank you again.

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      bjordan02469 12 months ago

      Wendy, thank you for sharing your story. I've been feeling trapped because it feels like everytime I try to sever, I'm always running back. Lately things like not answering my calls/facebook or not texting back have been happening a lot recently but then hours later he ends up replying something kind of like "hey sweetie. hows your day? :(" ignoring all my attempts to reach him as if I never tried making contact. He's not giving me any reason to run back to, but everytime he does reply I'm relieved. The fights we get into are always my fault and when I apologize for forgetting to do something even though I haven't and made an effort to contact him, I still feel like it's my fault and have to say sorry just so he can forgive me and make me feel loved. He's never been this distant before and part of me feels like I've got to change just so he'll like talking to me again. Months ago I'd get texts all day long and spend so much time with him but now I feel like I'm only loved when it's convenient and it hurts.

      Surely therapy would be the answer, but I'm afraid of getting called stupid or paranoid and that's one of the reasons why I feel so trapped. I love him so much, but I don't really have much going on without him in my life. I feel my heart breaking typing this down and part of me knows it's awful how I'm treated, but talking to him will only make me feel like nothing's wrong and at that moment I'd feel like he does love me until the next day when I'm ignored all over again.

      Would couple's therapy be better than just severing and getting therapy for myself? At least, a step closer to the right direction instead of just ending it? I'm not as strong as you Wendy or the many other survivors, but I also don't want to lose him in such a hurtful way.

      Thanks for reading and thank you for the moving article. I'm hoping to free myself from these emotions, but in a less messy way.

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      dalilah 12 months ago

      I've been dating a man who is divorced and has two children. He is 40 years old. I am 31. We've known each other for a long time. Our story was beautiful. In the beginning I could not believe I could deserve such happiness. How could I feel so happy and truly in love. He said in the beginning that he would not want to have any more children but then assured me that with me he would have another baby but that's it. I felt so loved. The world stopped whenever I was around him. I lost my virginity with him in November, and a few months after I found out that he was having sex with this other girl at the same time. I cried but his excuse was that we were not sure where we stand. I forgave him 15 mins later and we moved on. A few months after I read his text to his ex-girlfriend telling her how much he misses her. I left and he came over the next morning showering me with love and apologies and I forgave him and we moved on. He would often tell me what a good girl I am and the next week he would call me unappreciative, messed up, crazy, needy, too sensitive, insecure... Up and down, up and down. I moved in with him... I asked him a year down the road if he meant it when he said he would have one baby with me. He said.."No, I was drunk but I totally understand if you want to leave and meet someone else." I was crushed. I felt deceived. He told me I should go on some pills and that I need help. I left again, he apologized and we were right back together. Up and down, up and down. It came to a point where I knew I needed to move out. After moving out, I cried for days and days and finally broke down and wrote him a lengthy email, pretty much begging him to come back. He replied saying he loves me but it’s now my responsibility to work on the relationship. My gut feeling was telling me he is so not right, but I was happy he replied and we can give it another shot. Everyone who knew me suggested me to leave him forever. Six months later we started arguing again. We were supposed to attend an event together and he changed his mind at the very last minute. He texted me that there is no reason for us to go and that we do not have a good relationship. I replied to him with "I understand, thank you for everything." He replied a week later asking me to spend Christmas with him. I was taken aback... Because he never apologized but sort of gave me an ultimatum.

      Of course after that incident we somehow got back together. But this time I started to set boundaries and would not put up with his insults and control. I was at his place last Wednesday and we had sex. Two days later I get a text from him saying he’s leaving town for a month to take a class of some sort. I was upset because he never talked to me about. And now he’s gone, haven’t heard from him in over a week. I am sitting here, writing you this email. Doubting myself. Is it my fault? Did I mess this relationship up? I love this man more than anything. But I need peace in my life too. What do you think?

      Thank you so much and I am looking forward to hearing from you.

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      LP 12 months ago

      Hi Molly - I bet without a doubt within two to three weeks this person readds you and attempts to reconnect with you. I would not be surprised at all. You've wounded their ego and they know doing this to you would hurt you deeply so they are doing this so when they reconnect with you, you are flooded with relief they are "allowing" you back into their lives. My narcissist ex did the same thing and the relief i felt that we were back together kept me in a relationship of cheating and lies for an extra 6 months.

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      molly 12 months ago

      Hi Wendy, A toxic relationship I was in with a Narcissist has finally ended. I am not over it, but the relationship has ended. I would like your take on something though. It was a classic co-dependent (me) / Narcissist (her) relationship for many years. However a few months ago we decided it was over and I found a place to move to(she owned the house we lived in together), but hadn't moved out yet, I had 2 weeks to go when we got in a fight and I was kicked out. I had 32 hours to get out with all my stuff. I did it, I have been with family and friends until my place is ready the end of this week. I have made NO CONTACT with her, but did still have her on facebook. However, today for some reason I decided to see if she had any recent posts and discovered that she had blocked/unfriended me. This is not in keeping with what I have read about these situations, even in your article you wrote" They will mingle on the outskirts of your life for as long as you’re willing to communicate or leave the door cracked open. " but she didn't leave the door open at all and for some reason I fell apart when I realized she hadn't left the door open at all. But also, that is not in keeping with everything else I have read about this type of person? So, even now after all the reading I have been doing this person still managed to catch me off guard and have me fall apart one more time. I know there is no going back and I know we can't be together, but how do you explain that she did that and I fell apart? According to EVERYTHING, I have read she would have left that door open a crack but she didn't? Can you just make a comment to me about this? I am so totally confused once again when I thought I was making headway. Thank you

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      Wendy Golden 12 months ago from New York

      Hi CBL,

      I'm glad I could help. Many blessings coming your way. :-)

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      CBL 12 months ago from USA

      Thank you for this article Wendy. This article finally broken the thick wall surrounding my heart. My heart will have a chance to be heal now.

      I can't say enough "THANK YOU"! for saving my heart & soul.

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      Wendy Golden 14 months ago from New York

      Hi Danish,

      You do what works for you. You might want to ask yourself if staying on contact with him on social media is creating any value in your life? If the answer is no...well, there you go.

      I know for myself, when I find myself obsessing over a narc, it's usually because something is missing in my own life - and that's what I need to work on.

      When our minds are engaged in a new activity or hobby, that's what we focus on. The human mind is a wonderful thing - keep it busy with something productive and fun, and it forgets all about the toxic person. We can heal pretty quickly, if we allow ourselves the space to focus on other things. Good luck, you can move on! :-)

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      Danish 14 months ago

      Thankyou for this article Wendy so insightful I left my ex narc over a year ago but have still been in contact over social media, FaceTime etc. Everyone says no contact but it's incredibly difficult as you know, and that was all the support I had, like you I have spent the last year trying to counsel him and encourage him in his new hiking pursuits but as you say there's always some other woman sycophant indulging him, and I thought today why am I doing this?! Spending all this time and energy encouraging him and building him up to have it thrown back in my face! I've never heard it written the way you did, but you're right we accept what we think we deserve and I know I am guilty of trying to fix/help people but instead of taking care of someone else it might be nice to have someone to take care of me for a change your story was so insightful and really made me think I have read many articles on narcs trying to understand hoping he would change but yours made me see it through new eyes that statement you made about being dragged was particularly poignant I need to let go I'm the one prolonging the pain and blaming him! I need to choose me without sounding like a narc lol, so do I just block him on everything with no explanation? Sorry I was just asking for clarification on what you did thankyou for your article

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      MarLoe 14 months ago

      Thank You Wendy. It is most helpful to hear of other people's story. A river Cruise sounds wonderful. Yes I got away. Licking my wounds right now and feeling bruised but this too shall pass. Eventually will get back on track and starting to like my life again. There must be a gift in all of this somewhere. Ideally speaking I would like to walk away feeling stronger and more competent. Thank You again. I really enjoy your style of writing and your truth telling...

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      Wendy Golden 14 months ago from New York

      Thank you Marloe,

      Most of us who grew up with alcoholics or any kind of addictive personality are moving targets for narcissists. I'm glad you got away. You cannot reason with him because he is mentally ill. It is very tempting to try to state your case, or let them know what they're giving doesn't matter. They will keep doing exactly what they are doing because they don't know any other way to exist. I've been to therapy, and CoDA meetings. I also have a very supportive Buddhist community. Getting involved with something that gets you out of your head, might be just the thing. Stay strong. Better things are coming your way.

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      MarLoe 15 months ago

      Wendy. Just read this article. You have a powerful way of writing. Yes out of a relationship with a person like this. Very much. Never had heard the term before, now Narc Abuse and Narcissist seems to be everywhere. I knew it was a bad situation but fell badly for his very charming and caring ways first, then when he knew he had me he started retreating out of the relationship, very subtlely, but tell me I was the one that was not engaged. He was terrible on my self esteem, but somewhere in there was something where I thought this is not me you are talking about this is a mere projection and also a lot of crazy making behavior with it as well. I knew it was not good, but did not get out or was working on a way to end it, when he did. He stayed in contact via text msg and wanted to meet up to "catch up", I just was not willing to go there and share a meal and hear about all his glamorous stories and things hes been doing. He was very abusive psychologically, and I told him that and about the toxicity. He made it all about me. I wasn't capable of loving and I am the one that does not know how to be in a relationship. He got the message now that I do not wish to spend any time with him. Now he backed off. I am feeling the loneliness now. But now that there is no more quiet all the crazy shit that has been going on over this past year and 4 month is breaking through. I am having flash backs. Started writing it down as my mind still tells me I do love and only in my quietest time do I think maybe he'll change maybe he'll come back to me. He'll realize what he had in me. Then the other side breaks through when he was lying, not very honest at all. Made me feel just terrible about myself. It's a crazy ride in the head and there is lots that needs sorting out here but perhaps having no contact is a very good beginning. The rest will come. Once I stop hurting and obsessing. I cannot believe this has happened to me. Powerful and very honest communication from you. It is much appreciated for us that are still recovering and trying to get healthy esteem and self respect back. Grew up with an alcoholic father. Lots of recovery to do still... Thank you again for your frank and honest sharing.

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      Veronica 15 months ago

      Really good article so so true , I have just left my narcissist after 30!years very difficult time still going through some difficult times but after reading this it has gave me a lot of hope , as everything you have said I cAn really relate to and it is comforting in a strange way that it's not just me who has felt like this , I no it happens to lots but not everyone can come out ü damaged , I myself am so tired of it All and like you said there's lots of stories but hardly any on recovery that's why this article has highlighted so much to me and for the first time I got to think of me I could say so much more but I hope I am where you are in two years as I am just starting my road to recovery thankyou

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      johnpaul 15 months ago

      This article helped me to make the right decision today. It's as simple as that.

      I had an interesting few months with someone who couldnt see anything from anothers point of view - a truly bizarre experience.

      A hollow person, makes me sad. Not sad enough to waste my pity however.

      I always said that Lesbians maje good friends for men - they put up with the same flakey tarts that we have to... princesses/queens, modern delusions are so very tiring.

      Thank you Wendy, sincerely. You're a gem.

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      AGirl 15 months ago

      Wendy, thank you very much for this article, it's reading stuff like this that's been giving me the strength to stay away.

      In my case, the realationship lasted almost ten years. I knew all along that was something very wrong with him, but I couldn't quite put my fingers on it. It was very hard for me because I met him very young and naive and I dedicated myself completely to make him better. It took me a very long time to realize I couldn't and even than I was unable to leave, regardless of how much I wanted it.

      He was very emotional abusive with me and in more then one occasion even physical abusive, and still I wouldn't leave. It took him leaving me to give me strength to move on!

      Now it's been a little over a month and I really don't want to come back at all, but all of a sudden he started looking for me, telling me everything I always wanted to hear and asking me to get back together.

      I'm determined to stay strong, and I won't, but it hurts me a lot to see him in a bad shape, despite everything I care about him still and I don't want him to suffer, and that part is really hard on me. Besides, I realized he won't let me off the hook so easily, and I'm afraid of what he could do.

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      Cathrine 15 months ago

      I'm now in the process of leaving him. It's really hard even though you have given this handbook. My mind and soul is in pain. My mind is conscious and clear about everything been said and written but still my heart is anxious. I'm in despair!!!

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      Wendy Golden 15 months ago from New York

      Hello ImJustMe,

      Your situation sounds awful. It's ok to walk away. You will make new friends and a new life. Don't worry about what other people will think - her new circle is fleeting anyway. Once people catch on, they will usually move away from a narcissist - the ones who don't have their own problems. Good luck!

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      ImJustMe 15 months ago

      Thank you for your article. I swear there are parts of it that I could have said word for word in describing my situation. I am with a woman who I finally realized after a few years is toxic, manipulative and very clearly a narcissist, and yet I cling to her for dear life, doing all the things I thought would help make things better. I feel crushed by the weight of it all, the realization of whats been happening is killing me and have become a diminished version of myself. Only just recently has she seemingly lost some interest in me coinciding with her discovery of some new "friends" that are more exciting and giving her a head start on her next victim. But she isnt the type to just let me go, though I wish she would. As a result, I am not quite out of it yet. I am standing at the door marked exit and I am STILL afraid of walking out of it because of the uncertainty of what awaits. She is the type to lash out and possibly cause me harm in my community. I need to get out.

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      No Name 15 months ago

      Wendy- thank you for talking about your journey so openly with all of us. I'm so glad I was able to read this and will keep it bookmarked for're story is incredibly enlightening and strengthening for me. It has been around seven years since my split from an extremely manipulative narcissist with an unfathomably sad and lonely interior. I have since found an incredible, supportive, loving relationship beyond words but I still feel the sting of my ex relationship and feel as though a part of me is missing. I will use your strategies in my own journey...once again, thank you so much.

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      Dan 15 months ago

      This reads like a version of my life. I finally ended my own narcissistic relationship, after nearly three years the day before yesterday. Having someone else clearly explain what has been in your heart for so long is very helpful. Thank you for the road map out.

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      Eamonn 16 months ago


      Brilliant stuff really inspired me to make that choice and try to move on thank you so much ,best wishes Eamonn

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      Wendy Golden 16 months ago from New York

      Hi LJ1207,

      That is rough when there is a whole group involved. There are lots of Meetup groups, so if it was me, I would look to join other groups and expand your horizons. It's a fact of life, friends come and go. The good ones stick around, but sometime it just takes a seeking spirit to keep going and find the people you feel comfortable with.

      I had a similar situation with a Meetup group. The organizer was an overt narcissist and when it became clear she was grooming me to replace her ex, I called her on it. She ended up banning me from the group. Which was ok. I was upset for awhile, but I moved on. I've learned that I am my own best friend, and as long as I'm happy with me, the right people find me. I've also learned to be very selective about who I trust.

      You will meet the right people. Just keep putting yourself out there, and don't get discouraged. Thanks for sharing your story! Good luck!

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      LJ1207 16 months ago

      Hi, thanks so much for your article. I'm recovering from a short but traumatic relationship with a covert narcissist. My main issue in trying to do so is that I met this guy via a meetup group. Becoming part of this group all of last year was a joyful thing for me and a big deal as it was part of my healing from a relationship with a sociopath the year before (yes I know!). Long story short I don't know whether to exit the group now because of course certain key people seem to not be talking to me and I very obviously have an issue with him, blocked him on everything, and avoid the same events as him. It makes me really sad, and I don't know what might have been said to certain people if anything, but I have a sense that it might be a toxic group,after all. No one has reached out to me except the woman who is his new supply (albeit in a platonic sense at the moment at least). It struck me as condescending and disingenuous so I didn't respond to that. The Organiser of the group is someone I thought I could confide in but I have this feeling she was really just stirring things up and doesn't really care about me. She was content to allow me to beleive he was probably getting together with this other woman, yet when I pressed her to warn her about this guy she backtracked and then said they could just be friends for all she knew, this felt rather unkind. I'm feeling left out of everything because I can't go to much as he is there. Do I have to accept that my time in this group is now ruined? Was this group of friends also not what I thought it was either? I have him pretty much worked out. But with friends I'm finding it really hard to make sense of things. Thank you.

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      Lex 16 months ago

      This is such excellent guidance. I've been through most of hes stages. It's been a week since I broke it off finally with complete certainty. Now I'm doing the deep thinking on what this relationship revealed about me and my codependent nature, and how it got there. He's right: The only way to protect yourself is to be your true self and protect it from anyone who wants to change or chip away at the core of it. The last year has been painful, but I think that, in the end, I'm grateful for my wake-up call.

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      Wendy Golden 16 months ago from New York

      Hi Marline,

      You have plenty to offer, you just fell in with a bad person. Please consider some therapy - it will help a lot. Connect with friends, take a class, do something you enjoy, learn something you've always wanted to learn. Focus on you and healing, and the rest will fall into place. You're welcome to look me up on Facebook.

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      Marline 16 months ago

      Thank you so much for sharing this. It has given me so much hope. I used to be fun and confident and now I feel that everything I loved about myself and that someone else would love about me has gone. I have nothing to offer. Being treated in this way has caused me so much pain. I am distressed and traumatised. It has been the most humiliating and degrading experience of my life and yet I only have myself to blame.

      I you have a private account and are willing to then it would be good to chat

      Kind regards

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      Wendy Golden 16 months ago from New York

      Hi Bon,

      What I'm hearing from you is that your daughter is more afraid of being alone than continuing a friendship with a toxic friend. I don't know you or your daughter, but I'm wondering if she's had some kind of trauma that has left her with tremendous abandonment issues. I had a toxic friend in high school. Looking back she was probably a narcissist, but mostly she was just unpleasant, moody and difficult to deal with. I also was afraid to let go of this friend.

      If my parents had taken more of an interest in my life at the time, they probably should have gotten me to therapy. But when you grow up with narcissists - therapy is for the weak.

      I'm not a social worker, but it might not be a bad idea to see if your daughter is either willing to talk to a school counselor, or get outside counseling. It's not uncommon for girls her age to have low self-esteem and feel that a horrible friendship is better than no friendship.

      What your daughter may not realize is that other girls seeing her hanging out with Ms. Toxic and are afraid to approach your daughter because they don't want to deal with the N either. High school is a tough time to be alone. But sooner or later we all have to learn that alone is better than miserable. Good luck!

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      Bon 16 months ago

      I have a daughter that is involved in a narcissistic relationship with a girl at her school. This girl controls my daughter's every move. My daughter says that she doesn't want to be friends with this N, but she says that she has no other friends so she continues to stay involved with the N. They laugh, and seem to have fun together until this N doesn't get her way. Then, the N will bully my daughter, and even threaten to throw her down the stairs. As long as my daughter is doing things the N's way, everything is okay, but one little upset, and the N goes off on her embarrassing her in front of the whole class. My daughter has told me that she doesn't want the N in her life anymore, but the N won't let her get away. The N continues to meet her at her locker after every class, and gets mad at her when my daughter tries to seperate herself from her. Please help! I don't know what to do! How can my daughter seperate from this N when they are stuck at school all day together? I really can't call the principal for help because my daughter still continues to make this N a part of her life because she fears having no one. The principal, and the teachers see them together all the time so they think that they are best friends. My daughter is continuing to give mixed signals to everyone. What can I do as a parent to help my daughter? Please help! Thank you!

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      Wendy Golden 17 months ago from New York

      Hi Lauren and CrysNay25,

      Neither of you are crazy. You cannot make sense of the mentally disordered - that's why they have a personality disorder - they drive everyone crazy, except for one group...they surround themselves with people that are even more dysfunctional than they are, it makes them feel better about themselves. They collect groupies. Once the groupies catch on, they're usually discarded. CrysNay25 she picked an unemployed druggie because she sees her as someone she can control. If the druggie ever cleans up her act and gets healthy - their relationship is over. When they are together, I can assure you, the fighting and drama and craziness is non-stop. You both deserve better, and you both can find healthy people to spend your time with. Life is too short for toxic people. Thanks for sharing your stories.

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      Lauren 17 months ago

      I am so glad I came across this article! I have read a lot about this but your article has given me so much reassurance that I AM NOT CRAZY!

      It took me a really long time to really notice that my ex-girlfriend was narcisstic. I started making excuses for her when she would treat me badly, make nasty comments, and constantly made me feel small.

      Like every start of a relationship I was completely head over heels. She made me feel so special, important and wanted. Six months later it was a complete 360. We would fight about everything and I always ended up apologizing, wondering what I did to anger her so much. I became super sensitive, scared that we'd fight and I'd upset her. My friends started to notice that I was not being myself and was hurting so much.

      I kept telling myself that her behavior was acceptable when it wasn't. She was allowed to do whatever she wanted but if I did something she didn't approve of I would get yelled at. Additionally, if I was upset with her, I was too sensitive, needy, and had to just suck it up.

      So many days and nights I've spent trying to understand why I would stay in such a toxic relationship. I wasn't happy. Yet somehow I found myself always wanting to just "fix things" when I wasn't the problem. She was.

      I was apparently the more attractive one in the relationship which would cause problems. We couldn't go out without me being hit on, instead of her being proud of having a pretty girlfriend, she would blame me for being too flirty. I even got blamed for dressing inappropriate.

      It took me 2 years to really walk away. We would break up, cry together, make up and it would happen all over again. I am almost done with college, working full-time, I started to become drained with being in such a dysfunctional relationship. I realized that this was not true love and certainly a love I do not deserve. I deserve someone who would be appreciative of everything that I do not complain.

      For example, I went to her mothers house and dropped off a box of donuts and she looked at me like I had 8 heads. Everything I did was never good enough.

      This article made me realize that I'm not alone. That I'm not crazy. That I can be strong enough to let go of this all and build myself up again.

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      CrysNay25 17 months ago

      Reading this article was like reading the story of my most recent relationship. I'm still dealing with all the abuse trying to heal from it. My ex claimed to have PTSD but now I'm seriously thinking it was more narcissism rather than ptsd. She did the whole triangulation phase which tore me down to the core and she knew it would. Looking back I can see all the games she played not only with me but her friends and family as well. I still ask myself daily (it's only been just over a month since the relationship ended) what I did wrong, how can I change her mind, why is her new target so much better than me even though she is an unemployed druggie who cheated on her several times in their last go round. Now I see it has nothing to do with me at all. I have never in my life been a confrontational person and I had told her that repeatedly and every time she would tell me that's not healthy that for a successful relationship fights and arguments are necessary. Expressing feelings are necessary. I should have known then that this was a toxic relationship. After the first time "I made her explode" she left and got in contact with her ex (her now target). But as a "friend" that was supporting her through the pain I caused. When we worked things out she wanted to keep this person in her life because they were such great friends even though this bothered me I allowed it because I'm not a controlling person. They started talking all day everyday. When I went out of town they hung out. Whenever I "did" something to upset her she turned to this person. On our finally break up she exploded at me and then blamed me for her son being scared. Less than 3 days later she was in a relationship with the person I "never had anything to worry about" but the devaulization didn't stop there. Just a few nights ago I received a message saying how much better this person is than me, how much better they treat her, and she has loved (my ex) more than any other person ever has and that's not something you can look past. Which sent my emotions back in to a tailspin. I started researching why this was such a hard break up to get over and the more I read the more I see the exact same thing that happened to me. Thanks for posting this

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      Sofi 17 months ago

      Such an insprational article... Thank you so much for sharing your experience.

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      Jan 17 months ago

      Your article was informative and enlightening. I am very concerned in recognizing her narcissistic behavior, I am recognizing those traits in me. Is it possible to take on the traits of the other person to survive. Thats what it has felt like for months, is trying to survive. I have left her and would love to go "cold turkey", but all of my things are still in the house, and we are filing for a divorce and I am filing bankruptcy and she is crazy angry because she will lose items through this. a really big mess, but I am determined to move on and heal.

      Thank you for your wisdom.

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      Alia Zeenat 17 months ago

      I have gone through the same toxic relationship. I ended that and I now I'm feeling so strong. I have felt each and every word of this article. Thank you for sharing your views.I really loved reading it.

    • macteacher profile image

      Wendy Golden 18 months ago from New York

      Hi Yooli,

      First of all you didn't do anything wrong, you are still wonderful and lovable. His behavior has nothing to do with you. Like me you are a loving, caring person who's radar is a little off when it comes to toxic people. For whatever the reason, you feel a strong bond with someone who is incapable of love, and who has always been incapable of a truly equal partnership.

      That being said, you sound like you could really use some help and support. I always recommend CoDA meetings (Codependent's Anonymous) because most people who fall in love with narcissists and sociopaths have an unhealthy attachment to hateful people and hurtful relationships.

      You can rebuild from this and attract a partner who is deserving of your love and devotion. Take care of yourself right now, start an exercise program, cultivate your hobbies - take care of you while you heal. I'll send you good energy.

    • profile image

      Yooli 18 months ago

      Hi. I am going through a breakup with my husband of 5 years. He left me without any warning, just left a note and removed all his stuff while I was at work. I really do not know if he is a narcissist, I know that all the important decisions in our life were made to suit him and what he wanted: where to live, where to go on holidays, he told me initially that he wanted a family and children with me and then changed his mind. But I was happy to agree to all that (except the family part, but then I agreed to that too) just to be with him, I thought that's what people do for their loved ones (i even forgave him cheating on me in the past). I thought we had a special bond and we were best friends, we spend all our time together. I did my best to show him my love, to care for him, to encourage him and support him. That is why I was so shocked when he just disappeared (we did not argue, things were a bit flat for a while, but I though it is because I was so tired after work). We spoke after he left and he cried like a child and apologised and begged to forgive him, he said he'd do anything to make me happy. We agreed to travel and he left a bit earlier to surf and wait for me to join him. When I arrived he told me that it was all a big mistake and he did not want me anymore. He asked if I could be his friend. I was so obsessed chasing him, I really thought that he was in trouble (he said he was very depressed and that he was hiding it from me and that's why he left) I just wanted to be by his side and help him through the hard time. I later learnt that he met a woman while waiting for me and their relationship escalated very fast. He told her all the things word-to-word he used to tell me when we just met. He tells her that they will get married and have a family and beautiful children and everything else. I was completely crushed by the man I adored and who I thought so highly of, by my best friend. I searched the internet for some help, I feel that I am shattered into million pieces and I do not know where to start to pick myself up, I just exist from day to day, with no hope, no dreams, no plans. I learnt that there are narcissists and sociopaths out there, it kind of comforts me as I think he could be that. But in my darkest moments I think that I am just looking for an excuse to cover up my failed self. I find it so hart to grasp that he might a bad person ( i've learnt some really strange stuff about him) and that I have not done anything wrong to deserve such a devastation. I was a strong believer that two loving people can achieve and overcome anything, if they wanted to, that everything can be fixed. He told me he loved me till the day he left.

    • macteacher profile image

      Wendy Golden 18 months ago from New York

      Hi Destiny,

      We are all worthy of relationships that enrich our lives, not wear us down. It sounds like you've been through hell. Good for you for realizing that its him, not you. Nothing will make him happy in the long term, he's going to treat every other woman the same way.

      If you haven't looked into therapy, you might want to - it sounds like you could use the support. Stay strong!

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      Destiny Y 18 months ago

      I am on the road to divorce with my narcissistic husband. We've been separating and getting together on and off since 09/11/2015 the day before my birthday when he left. We've been separated since maybe mid the end of September of this year and it has been hard for me. He left me because we were not getting along at all because throughout the 3 1/2 years we were together everything was always about him and he never took care of me or our boys the way a man with a family should. He would sexually abuse me and emotionally and mentally put me down very frequently. Once he left he had another woman within a week and I'm not even sure whether they were talking or not before he left. It has been a rollercoaster ever since. He left her and came back to me over and over and I never knew why I couldn't just put an end to the relationship. I yearned so much for us to have the family life I dreamed of but it just wasn't what he wanted, he was only looking out for himself and what made him feel loved and good which was no longer me. I am healing from the relationship finally but having to see him for the kids sake and talk to him for them really wears me out even just a phone call or seeing him for a brief moment. It gives me anxiety and I have to take a minute to myself in the restroom just to regain myself. Reading this was very helpful in making me feel strong and like I am good enough and realizing who he really is. Thank You!

    • macteacher profile image

      Wendy Golden 19 months ago from New York

      Hi Karin,

      I"m so sorry to hear of your health issues. Huge amounts of stress will break down the body, your case is a good example. I hope you are doing self care and have access to people who support you. You might want to seek out a CoDA meeting in your area - they are a great support with people who've been through what you've experienced. I'm sending you good energy.

      Hi Kayla,

      I don't have kids, so I may not be the best person to give advice on this. I can tell you that Narcissist thrive on negative emotions and getting a rise out of people - so it is a good idea to keep a lid on your emotions when dealing directly with the Narcissist, remaining very calm doesn't give them any ammunition. Staying calm also models for your children how to deal with their Narcissist parent. Seek out a support group like CoDependent's Anonymous. A lot of people with kids go to those groups, so you might be able to develop a network of friends who can guide you. Good luck!

    • profile image

      macteacher 19 months ago

      Hi Karin,

      Your story is horrible, proof that our bodies cannot withstand an overload of stress without rebelling. The fact that he turned your family against you is typical. I hope you continue to take measures to protect yourself. There are a lot of online groups for survivors of Narcissist on Facbook. CoDA meetings can also help. Sounds like you need a stable support system outside of your family. I'm sending you healing energy.

      Hi Kayla,

      I'm afraid, since I don't have kids, I'm probably not the best person to guide you on this.

      You might also want to seek out Codependent's Anonymous meetings to build a support group, which includes people with kids. I can tell you that when dealing with a narcissist it is always best to keep a lid on your emotions, especially around your kids. If they do or say something outrageous, stay calm and explain to your children why it is outrageous, or not true. Staying calm will also model for them how to deal with their Narcissist parent.

      Narcissists thrive on getting a rise out of people, so don't give them the satisfaction. Good luck!

    • profile image

      Kayla 19 months ago

      I am so thankful i found this. It really helped me. Do you have any insight of how to deal a narcissist when youhave kids with them?

    • profile image

      Karin 19 months ago

      Thank you for this great article. I have been deeply unhappy for 29 years in a relationship with a high-functioning and demanding narcissist. Had a complete physical and emotional breakdown in 2008, followed by crippling auto-immune disease. In 2015 my big moment of clarity came - I had a heart attack, not due to heart disease, but due to stress. This resulted in me losing my successful but demanding career. My body had spoken. The narc could not enter my hospital room without me almost coding and I cried nonstop for two weeks. He had to tell our adult children a story to explain this - and the story was how crazy and emotionally unstable I was and how much he had always suffered under me. So there was little support for me during my convalescence and the tumultuous months of depression that followed, only the four of them having round-eyed serious discussions behind my back on what the Crazy One had done again. One night six months post HA during a family meeting he literally threw me to the wolves and opened the discussion in Mom's depression, and encouraged them to tell me in detail what a

    • macteacher profile image

      Wendy Golden 20 months ago from New York

      Thank you for stopping by Gardenfrock. You certainly have a way with words. ;-) It ultimately is about healing, and forgiving ourselves for getting caught up with someone who wasn't worth our time and energy from the very beginning.

    • Gardenfrock profile image

      Gardenfrock 20 months ago

      "...Next time, I'm no longer accepting crumbs." "Crumbs" - visceral cord raises welts raw in resonance. Uncomfortable notes pick fleshy fibres off guttural being too damn human.

      Thank you for this hard crafted work, you've articulated beautifully. Bless all those here who are valuing themselves listening owning healing growing giving.

    • macteacher profile image

      Wendy Golden 21 months ago from New York

      Hi Tina,

      Great poem! Thanks for sharing, and I'm glad you got away. :-)

    • profile image

      TinaCrocker 21 months ago

      I wrote the following poem to bring closure to a 5 yr relationship with a narcissist boyfriend:


      You almost succeded in accomplishing what you set out to do...destroy me!

      Snipping away one fine thread at a time...of my sanity!

      Posing as innocent, naive, saint, trustworthy the deceiver!

      Delivering lies carried on arrows dripping with honey...upon that which you hate! (accountability)

      Void of soul's conscience and spirit's life egg without a yolk...true self revoked!

      Cloaked in goodness you fed freely in your delusion...which you deny!

      Until confusion summonded the savior and left you naked in the truth...of your disguise!

      What life I've left...though dimmed in heartache...will always loves respect

      As for you...I have compassion...the true spent a lifetime to forget

      Tina Maurine Crocker - January 2016

    • macteacher profile image

      Wendy Golden 21 months ago from New York

      Hello Aysha,

      Thank you for sharing your story. Getting your degree and starting a teaching career while raising three kids is a superhuman feat - you're an impressive woman. If you're looking for online forums, most of them have moved to Facebook. There are plenty of groups for people recovering from narcissists. You may also want to read "In The Meantime" by Iyanla Van Zant. It's my personal favorite, I've read it many times over the years, especially when I'm dealing with toxic people.

      I was raised not to believe what is in front of me, and to give people the benefit of the doubt till it hurts. It's a problem for a lot of people. It may have something to do with not wanting to admit we're wrong, and the situation is more than we can handle. It's called Codpendence. If you can find an hour or two on a weekend, I highly recommend going online and finding CoDA meetings in your area. They are free and meeting with other people who are struggling with the same issues is invaluable. Good luck! You're on the right path. Divorcing him was the first step, it's a've survived and thrived. :-)

    • profile image

      Aysha 21 months ago

      Goodness...So many typos and mistakes in my message! Questions without question marks. Lol.

      I was so busy spilling out my emotions. The teacher in me can't help but be critical.

    • profile image

      Aysha 21 months ago


      My reply to that was 'it would feel like killing my own child'. It was a spontaneous response that surprised even me.

      So that's pretty much what I'm dealing with. I wish I had time to seek counselling now. I have a hugely demanding job and work schedule and being the sole provider for my family, I am financially not in a position. So I take time to read articles and work through things. The progress is much slower.

      I feel I have been on a long journey where I've climbed many mountains. I've also taken some nasty falls! But I am more happy and fulfilled through creating a life that does not require him to make me happy. I am just waiting for the day to come when I can close the chapter. I've lost hope he'll ever change. The last few years I've taken full responsibility for where I've been. I've seen my own mistakes and although this message may seem itis all about what he has done to me, the truth is I ALLOWED him to do this to me. I have chosen to stay in this relationship. At one point, I was so full of self hate because I couldn't understand why someone like me would stand for so much abuse that was thrown my way. I was angry at not being able to walk away because many people would.

      However, through learning self love I now embrace the fact that I am a loving person- I am kind and forgiving. These are endearing qualities in a person. It was just with the wrong person. In my last message to him I said I was a beautiful wife who loved him deeply. He was enough for me even with his imperfections. I told him the fact that I was never enough for him was his loss. There's nothing else left to say. I've asked for a divorce.

      I waited so long for him to love the imperfect parts of me only to realise he didn't even love the perfect parts. He taught me to see myself as a beautiful human being- a phrase I would never associate with myself. In the words of the song lyrics by Tamia called 'Me'...

      "And her name is me

      She loves me more than you'll ever know

      I finally see that

      Loving you and loving me just don't seem to work at all

      So patiently

      She's waiting on me to tell you that she needs love

      And to choose between you two

      Boy you know if I have to choose,

      I choose me..."

      It's such a beautiful song and one that is apt for those walking away from a toxic relationship.

      This message (messages!) was never meant to be this long. I came here searching to see how to recover from a toxic relationship. I've had almost 16 years in it so the break won't be easy. I am predicting some tough emotional times. I wish there was a forum for pole like us.

      Inner strength, the willingness to search for answers, my faith in God (hugely important in those lonely dark times and for living in the moment) and having wonderful friends who tried their best to be non judgemental have allowed me to find my way.

      Thank you for your great and honest article. It gives me hope and also a semblance of comfort that there are others who understand the devastation of being in a toxic relationship. Hugs to all those who are struggling to find themselves and for every person whose heart has been broken. Xxx


    • profile image

      Aysha 21 months ago

      Hi Wendy,

      I read your full article and could relate to everything you said. I've been married to a narcissist for almost 16 years. We have 3 children together. He was my first lover and I could never imagine a future without him. I started to have big problems back in 2009. That's the first time we separated. I thought my world had come to an end. He had been at fault and yet he had managed to turn things on me. He had returned to university as a mature student and was having a double life. I was at home looking after 3 young kids and running the whole household singlehandedly. He was out all the time coming home late. Sometimes 3am or 4am! In the end I got so fed up I rang a girl on his contact list and found out no one at uni knew he was married with 3 kids. He was pretending to be younger than he was, single and made up professions for his parents. He turned it on me and said I had spied on him. An argument led to me throwing his clothes out. He in turn left and we were separated for 9 months. Those were such dark times for me. You are so right when you say that we ignore the warning signs. We talk ourselves out of it. I was literally like an addict. I needed him. For what? I never even asked the question. During those dark days I reached out and volunteered in my children's school. It was a way to keep myself sane. I found myself loving my time at the school. Whilst I struggled with what had happened he had managed to fully exploit my vulnerabilities. He emotionally battered me through first going no contact with me. Then when I somehow managed to open communications he let out emotional abuse like an atomic bomb. Years later, I realised it was pent up anger towards his mother who had run away with him from his abusive father. She however, neglected him (leaving him to go on holidays when he was young) and busy leading a full social life. The truth is he blamed her for the decision which meant he grew up without a father. He grew up without love from both parents. Then I came along- the do Gooder. The person who loves to help others with my belief that love conquers all. A toxic relationship was born.

      Much has happened since then. There has been rivers of tears and pain felt so deep that becoming numb and immune to his ways was the only survival option. I learnt to live with lies. I learnt to live with omissions (which are still lies). I lowered my expectations of a normal relationship to the point where he was like a guest in my house. I had the patience of a saint. I did everything. And yet still I was never good enough.

      The turning point came when I found out he had gone to his graduation ceremony without telling me. Stupid me had this fantasy that he would want me there on that day because I'd been his rock. I'd supported him through uni. I'd lived on next to nothing for 4 years so he could achieve his dream. I'd helped him with his assignments (typing them up whilst breastfeeding my youngest child). I taken his mood swings when he was stresses with deadlines. Why? Because I lover him and wanted him to be happy and put his troubled childhood memories to rest. Finding out that all this meant nothing (because he was a narcissist who felt entitled to all this and could never appreciate my loving gestures) was like a knife through my heart. We'd been working on rebuilding our relationship and were at a really good stage. Or so I'd thought. Another explosive argument this time with full blessings from his mum. She blamed me. This time his rage was so intense (I realised it was a pattern everytime his secret plans were revealed) that he pushed me. I fell on my back and blacked out for a few seconds. A couple of weeks later I bled a huge clot and had continual heavy bleeding for over a week. My doctor said it was an early miscarriage. I never mourned nor dealt with it. I can't explain how hurt and betrayed I felt. It just went over and over in my mind. How could he? I couldnt imagine how anyone could be so u ungrateful and inconsiderate. He's a narcissist! That's the only answer. Anyone would think that would be the last straw. But it wasn't. He broken his ankle in three places a few weeks later (he'd been living with his mum since the argument) and I put my anger to a side. I buried it. I looked after him during his long recover process. What helped me deal with my pain was somehow there was justice (or karma or whatever you want to call it) because only weeks earlier he had used his strength on me. Yet here he was vulnerable and in pain and I was the only one around for him. Not his friends nor his mother who had gone off to Morocco for a holiday.

      It was a soul searching time. I realised I'd put him first. His dreams became my dreams. His happiness was my happiness. I was living to fulfil his needs. No one was there to fulfil mine. So slowly I started dreaming. I loved being at school and decided to take mysrlf to uni. I trained to become a teacher. It took me 3 years and huge financial sacrifice. I lived on next to nothing. We tried to rebuild again. But I'd changed. Two years into my degree we separated again. Another lie discovered. He of course turned it on me. He slept in a different room for 3 months. I asked him to leave if he couldn't commit to a normal marriage. I laugh as I write this. 'Normal marriage'...I'll never truly know what that looks or feels like. This time we separated for over two years. This time I didn't beg or cry for him. I focused on living day to day. Not worrying about the future and finally getting a sense of worth and regaining my self respect. I did extremely well at uni. I left with a first. The ngot the job at the school of my choice in my first interview. People started seeing me as a great teacher and this helped a lot to rebuild my self esteem. I say rebuild because prior to marrying him I was a hugely confident and strong woman who took no nonsense. Even at work this is the picture they have of me. For whatever reason, I couldn't be that person in my most intimate relationship. I still need to discover why. Had the Aysha who was known by everyone to be strong, opinionated and hugely confident (a fighter for social justice and the one who spoke up for vulnerable people) been the same in my marriage, I would have been able to put down boundaries. I am an example of how not all codependent women are submissive, passive women.

      From the ashes of burnt out dreams, I rose. It was a gradual change, but it snowballed.

      He came back into my life and this time promised he'd changed. I had seen some positive changes. But he had me hooked in. I had never wanted to divorce. I hoped in time he would see his mistakes. Neither of us had been with other people. I'd been a part of his life since he was 20. So that played a huge part in keeping us together and the fact that we are both Muslims so adultery could never be an option...

      This time, it was different. I was a very independent person who was hugely successful in my job. I was singlehandedly bringing up 3 children and doing it well. I was also not ready to take rubbish from him. The dynamics had changed. He tried to exert control. But I withstood it each time. There were moments when things were great, but that unsettling uneasiness that things could change never left. There would always be some storm ahead. And there was. This time not an explosive one. He had an argument with the kids and eventually I got drawn in. He slept in another room for a few weeks. Stopped talking to me. Then went on holiday to Morocco. He came back and has now moved out. Last time he came to see the kids, he said he wanted to move on. He wanted kids. Of course I find myself asking what I an going to do now. When will it be enough to fully walk away. The thought has entered my mind that it is time now. Clearly he wants to move on to another life. I'd be lying if I didn't say I felt betrayed. Angry. I'm angry at myself too for just not bring able to do the final act. To get divorced. I had some counselling years ago after we separated where I expressed my frustrations of loving someone who did not deserve my love..

    • macteacher profile image

      Wendy Golden 21 months ago from New York

      Hi Brandie,

      I'm sorry it took so long to write back, it's the beginning of the school year. You might want to read "Help! I'm In Love With A Narcissist." It might help give you some clarity about why you fell into such a hole.

      Yes, I had some very serious trust issues for a long time after this relationship. However, once I did some reading and went to CoDA meetings - Codependents Anonymous, I started to regain my equilibrium. I also went on Meetup and found some activity groups I liked and met some new people.

      You are right it is about setting better boundaries. I also did a couple of years in therapy to help me understand my tendencies to fall in with toxic people. My family background contributed a lot to my attraction to dysfunctional relationships - I was raised by narcissists and untangling the emotional turmoil has taken a lifetime - but it can be done with a little determination.

      I would also like to suggest my personal bible - "In The Meantime" by Iyanla Van Zant. I've probably read it at least 20 times over the last 15 years. She is very spiritual and the book brings me tremendous peace when I'm dealing with difficult people and difficult feelings. Keep me posted on how you're doing. I'll write back quicker next time. Glad my experience helped a little. It really does get a lot better. :-)

    • profile image

      Brandie 21 months ago

      Hi there, this was an incredibly helpful story to read. I have been out of the relationship with my N for about a year now, but we had "re-kindled" things = a few months after the break-up, but at this point I have not seen or spoken to him in about six months. I feel better and better now that I have no contact with him. However, like you, there are significant holes in my self-esteem that I know I need to deal with. I also have issues with codependency (which is obvious since I was involved with a narcissist) self-worth, boundaries, self-blame, accepting mistreatment, etc. Although I am eager to work on these issues, I worry that I will never be able to trust a person again. Did you feel this way after the break up/after realizing what your ex was? I really hope I will be able to move on from this feeling because lately I have been thinking that I might just have to be alone for the rest of my life...


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